PHASE ONE: ADOPTING OUR CHILDREN
We began fostering a baby girl in July 2015 and a baby boy in September. A little more than a year later, both adoptions were complete, allowing us to leave Los Angeles County, the state of California, and eventually the United States.
Adopted November 29, 2016
Our daughter likes it when we sing "You Are My Sunshine." For the past year and a half, my throat has always tightened a little with the last line, knowing that at any time a phone call or e-mail may inform us that someone's trying to take our sunshine away.
Fostering to adopt. There are wonderful things about it and we've met some amazing, hard-working people along the way. But the joy of motherhood has always struggled against an undercurrent of fear, of what if.
I suspect that most people who seek employment in the world of child welfare initially do so out of a genuine desire to help children. But over time, apparently, some of those people drift farther and farther from that mission and end up letting the current transport them from one bureaucratic buoy to the next, with little regard for how long it takes or how much sense it makes. I've got to think they just got tired of swimming, and that's how they cope.
How else would a child who's been in our care since she was 10 days old remain in limbo until she's 17 months, despite our immediate desire to adopt her and the complete absence of anyone contesting it? That's how long it took "The System" to run through its own regulatory and administrative machinations without any outside influences.
That was frustrating for us - two proactive (i.e., extraordinarily annoying) parents who read the DCFS employee handbook and cited it to social workers, who checked in regularly for updates, who elevated issues up the chain of command as needed, and who once warned a social worker that we would "rain fire on DCFS" if anyone tried to remove our child in an attempt to rectify an administrative error they had made a few months prior.
But today, we celebrate.
Because as of today, no one is taking our sunshine away - ever. This preemie we cuddled in the NICU. This baby with a hearty laugh five times her size. This little girl who shouts "RAAAAAAH" when she sees a lion, always carries her blanket by the corner, and rests her head on my shoulder when I least expect it.
Please welcome our daughter, Darwin LeeAnn Myers, into the world at 28 pounds, 30 inches.
Adopted June 27, 2016
In September 2015, the DCFS stork brought a baby boy to our doorstep. He was three weeks old, without a name, and we were his second placement. A good friend of ours inadvertently talks about our first few weeks with him as though we were fostering a puppy: You should have seen him - so skinny and pale and timid. But look at him now!
Despite his appearance at the time, Emerson - as we decided to call him - had been well cared for. But he was pale and scrawny, and looked like a blend between a bird and a little old man.
We loved him instantly.
The first few weeks after Emerson came to live with us were a challenge, as we adjusted to life with two infants younger than four months. And man could he cry! And cry and cry. "He's going to be a very serious kid," I thought to myself, because although he certainly smiled on occasion, most of the time he just looked... pensive.
Fast forward nine months and he's laughing hysterically in his high chair simply because I raised my eyebrows at him. He loves to cuddle, is a bit reserved, yet also routinely smiles at strangers. And, as of today, his adoption is finalized.
Please welcome our son, Emerson Joseph Myers, into the world at 23 lbs, 30 inches :)